The 4th Annual Pure Detroit 5k

Help Outrun Cystic Fibrosis – August 11th

For the previous four years, Pure Detroit and Rock CF have teamed up to put on one of the city’s most unique 5K runs. Using the Fisher Building as its starting point and the historic New Center and Boston Edison neighborhoods as its course, the Pure Detroit x Rock CF 5K offers its participants one of the most compelling runs in the city.

Since their founding in 1998, Pure Detroit has been a leader in Detroit’s retail community. With a flagship location inside the Fisher Building, the retailer has a unique ability to curate events inside Detroit’s Largest Art Object and the surrounding neighborhood. The Annual Pure Detroit and Rock CF 5k Run was born out of the desire to of Pure Detroit to create experiences that help benefit the community it serves. 

Participants gather near the start of the Pure Detroit 5k.

Emily Schaller was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis when she was 18 months old and has worked throughout her life to bring awareness to the disease. Today, Rock CF runs a diverse set of programs that help to promote healthy living and an active lifestyle, the impetus for which came from Emily’s experiences in the Detroit music scene. Emily tells me that she was “having the time of her life” immersed in the music scene our city had to offer, but that her health was plummeting.  She had her own band at the time and quickly realized that her late nights in the city’s smoky bars were causing her to miss treatments. She knew that her situation was what she called “a recipe for disaster.”  

The 5k is a partnership between Pure Detroit and Rock CF, an organization founded by Emily Schaller in 2007 to raise awareness for cystic fibrosis in Metro Detroit. 

pure detroit 5k emily schaller rock cf
Emily Schaller founded Rock CF to inspire people living with Cystic Fibrosis to lead more healthy lifestyles and to bring CF awareness to Metro Detroit.

Emily founded Rock CF and was inspired to use her community in the music scene as a tool to further her mission of raising awareness for cystic fibrosis.

Today, Rock CF runs a diverse set of programs that help to promote healthy living and an active lifestyle. Cystic Fibrosis makes it difficult to maintain a healthy weight and even Emily, who had fought the disease since she was 18 months old, struggled to find healthy ways to do so. Emily is very open about these struggles on the Rock CF website, writing that she was taught that it was important to take in large amounts of calories, no matter where they came from. This advice, combined with the hard rock lifestyle, left Emily “sick of being sick.” As Emily tells it, 

pure detroit 5k fisher building
Pure Detroit 5k participants with Detroit’s Fisher Building in the background.

“I started running a little bit in 2006 or 2007 to see if I could improve my health. Within three or four months of developing a solid running routine, my pulmonary function climbed to the highest it had been since I could remember.” 

Emily calls this her “aha” moment. She began to focus more on healthy living as her band dissolved. In the decade that followed, Rock CF began hosting their own races including the Rock CF Rivers Half Marathon on Grosse Ile which began in 2011.

pure detroit 5k beer can glass
Pure Detroit 5k swag.

When Pure Detroit began planning their own 5k race, it was clear that Emily and Rock CF would be the natural choice of partner organizations.  The relationship between Emily and Pure Detroit dates back to before the days of Rock CF when Pure Detroit was located on Woodward Avenue in Downtown Detroit. Emily was one of Pure Detroit’s most loyal customers, frequenting the shop as a teenager, and even working for the company when they relocated to the Fisher Building in 2001. For the next ten years Emily would work on and off for the company.

pure detroit 5k pallister street
The Pure Detroit 5k course takes participants through the New Center and Boston Edison neighborhoods, including Pallister Street.

By 2016, Pure Detroit had grown its operation to six Detroit based brick and mortar shops. The company also began to set its sites on creating a fun 5K race in the neighborhood surrounding their flagship Fisher Building location. 

For Emily, the collaboration was a “no-brainer.” She knew the company, understood the running world, and even planted Rock CF’s headquarters on Grand Boulevard, right across the street from the Fisher Building. The two organizations would work together to create a race which would celebrate Detroit while donating 100% of proceeds to Rock CF. Four years after the inaugural race, the Pure Detroit x Rock CF 5K is one of the main highlights of both organizations active calendars. 

Pure Detroit 5k – nearing the finish line.

This year’s race promises to be the biggest and the best yet. Registration has opened for the August 11th event at Exciting new additions for this season are a fun 1-mile run for kids as well as a virtual running option for those who would like to support the cause but are not able to attend the race.

The race is open to everyone, no matter their fitness level or their running experience. The event hopes to follow the lead of Rock CF by promoting healthy living in the Detroit area. 

pure detroit 5k map
The Pure Detroit 5k course map.

One thought on “The 4th Annual Pure Detroit 5k

  • June 18, 2019 at 6:58 pm

    Fantastic article! Emily Schaller truly ROCKS! Her positive energy is a blessing to everyone that she meets!


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